Friday, November 03, 2006

Yes? No?

When I started this blog the intention was to share the experience of commuting to work on a motorcycle. I've hoped to inspire more to join us in using bikes as a better alternative to a cage. From my viewpoint, it seems the most natural thing in the world. I literally grew up astride a bike of one sort of another.

Grandpa always bragged that he had me riding a horse before I could even walk. Almost anywhere there was room for horses, there was room for dirt bikes. I was blessed in that Grandpa didn't overly fuss over me. He held me to a moral code but wasn't one of those over-protective parents. So I got to spend a lot of time doing what boys do. Of course, I played rough and have the broken bones and scars to prove it.

Interestingly, I rode dirt bikes for a long time before I even explored a bicycle. They just didn't figure into my world. I still see young boys on their bicycles pretending to be riding motorcycles. I was spoiled in that I started on the real thing early on.

Riding has been a natural part of me for as long as I remember. The saddle of a bike is as familiar as my own bed. It feels like home. When I'm on a bike I feel like I'm exactly where I belong. That's the feelings I've tried to share in this blog. All the good things that come from riding. Sometimes there's negative things that happen, but even these help build the positive.

Teaching riders has also become a natural part of my life. I've been doing it for a little over 18 years now. I first took an Experienced Rider Course in 1987. It opened my eyes to a whole new treasure chest. Imagine actually understanding the right things to do and making them work for my betterment as a rider. I was moved to start sharing this same type of experience with other riders. From beginners to professionals who ride for a living, I've enjoyed giving them new skills and awareness. My hope is that I've saved lives and, more importantly, improved the quality of these rider's lives.

Understandably, some of this "Instructor" thing creeps into this blog. I've tried to slip in some riding tips and discussions on skill development. Folks are usually quiet about these posts. Not much feedback comes in one way or the other.

Is this something that interests the readers? Do you all just like to hear amusing stories and musings? Is there an interest in having some riding skill discussions once in a while? I still pretty much do what I please as this is my blog. On the other hand, I'd like it to be of benefit to those who take time to read it. Let me know.

Miles and smiles,


Anonymous said...

Don't limit yourself on the content. If it's motorcycle related just let it flow. I have enjoyed it all.

Alex in VA.

Anonymous said...

Nate from Salt Lake:

Maybe we are not responding because we are stunned by the excellence of your instructional material. The articles on turning were certainly as good as I've ever read.

But I don't think the event-by-event approach translates well to the multitude of variables presented by traffic safety.

For example:

A morning commute on the freeway: drivers trying to get to work, and pushing the edge a little ... speaking of pushing: the bubba in the pumped-up truck behind me seems interested in reading the fine print on my inspection sticker ... while I happen to notice that the young woman in the car in the next lane is holding a giant cinnamon roll and a steaming cup of coffee (driving with her pinky fingers) ... and (oh goody!) a lane merge is coming up that wasn't there yesterday.

What do I do now?

Traffic being traffic, there are a million more of these scenarios describing possible transitions from a Nice Uneventful Ride to Life or Death Decision.

I think this is where anecdotal reporting comes in. "I was in this situation ... I did this ... and now I'm alive to tell about it".

A good example is your story about the 2 vehicles which bounced off each other, attempting to occupy the same lane. You mentioned that you accelerated to get past them after they separated. The acceleration part is something that I never would have thought of.

ScooterGuru said...

I am benefitting from some of your suggestions to improve my turns on the street.
Crawfordville, FL

Steve Williams said...


I think your writing and focus do much to help your readers understand what it means to commute on two-wheels and how that fits into the larger picture of life. Your experience throughout your life has made you into the man you are and sharing stories, thoughts, and ideas is important for me to understand how my own life could be influenced.

Your specific experience as a teacher is just chocolate fudge topping on the ice cream. I cann't tell you how many times I have been negotiating a turn or curve when I find myself saying "point you nose .... look as far into the curve..." I wasn't doing that before I read your posts.

I'm definitely interested in the skills and riding tips. I think one of the reasons there may be silence and no comments is that you write them so well that there are not really any questions to raise. I wonder the same things at times but since I installed the tracking software I can see how many people are reading. When the numbers were 28 per months that was sort of depressing. And none of us want to be swelling your head with too much thanks or praise *grin*. I've learned myself that if I want more comments I can write in such a way that I am asking for feedback. Like this post! I would keep doing what you're doing.

I can make a few suggestions though to improve things:

1. Gather all our addresses and send us chocolate monthly.

2. Buy a Honda Big Ruckus and do some off-road adventuring complete with lots of photos.

3. Offer a new Triumph Scrambler as prize to the person who posts the most comments on your blog.

4. Don't change nothing.

DaveT said...

Keep the faith, and keep writing what you want. Your instructional content (Wow, have I been a computer tech for too long!) is great and greatly appreciated. I tend to mull over what I read and try it out, then I'll comment. By that time a couple weeks have passed and the post has scrolled off. So, yes, I appreciate what you do and the improvements you've made in my riding.

Dave T.

Anonymous said...

I recently started reading your weblog, and enjoy your style and streams of consciousness alot. I would be interested in riding tips, and will probably go looking for your earlier postings on this. Thanks

John, a born-again rider, 1973-91; 2006-

dan_durham said...

You are a master in the art of motorcycling. No need to change a thing- keep the instructor talk and all.


Chewy said...

Keep doin' what you're doin'.

Mad said...

Personally I enjoy your more instruction biased posts but whatever you write, if it's about motorbikes I'll read it. ;)

Mad said...

Oh and I agree with Steve, we need Triumph Scramblers as prizes for commenting (although I'd rather have a Speed Triple)! :p

Anonymous said...

Unless I can improve the conversation online, I really don't comment much (I am usually just a part of the "Me Too" brigade, anyway), but since you asked, I will let you know that I really like your posts a lot.

I orginally started reading because you are from my area, and you were talking about things that related to me.

But now that I have been reading for a while, I find that I like the variety of the subjects, it's not just one type of subject, it's a variety of issues all relating to motorcycling.

So, I really like the format and would still read if you changed anything, but I don't feel that you need to.

Balisada in Willamette Valley

irondad said...

I really appreciate all the feedback! Sorry for the delay in responding. I was doing some training over a long weekend which I will post pretty soon.

Glad you enjoy the blog. That's kind of how it works. I just write things as they happen.

I've thought about writing "scenarios". That is, Happy Harry finds himself in this situation. What could he have done differently or what worked? Glad that works for you. You'll see more.

Glad to be of help. Hope to pass on more good stuff.

I'm glad to be the "voice in your head". Please take note that no where in the blog do you see any reference to Santa Claus! Like the Ruckus idea. I think that's what Billy is doing in his blog.

understand the computer tech thing. I'm not one by trade but spend a lot of time trying to improve my computer skills. I found myself referring to a student as very "digital" this weekend.
I appreciate your comments and am happy to know I provide food for thought.

welcome back. Thank you for taking me along on the ride with you.

I'm watching the Seahawk game and thinking about you in the rain. I consider myself more of a student than the master, but thank you, grasshopper!

thanks for the positive input. Please see my note to steve about Santa Claus! I'm kind of drooling over the new Tiger, myself.

well put and simply said.

thanks for weighing in. Where in the Valley are you? Are you here in my town?


The Snark said...

Bikes and naked wimmen!!!

Oh, wait, I'm doing that already. Go on doing what you're doing. If we don't comment, it usually means we agree with you, and recognise the wisdom of your words.

And you have posted some real life savers in here.

irondad said...

I do have to admit that I find myself checking your site more often on Fridays! Sounds like you have an interesting time over there.


Anonymous said...

I live in Albany. I like it here because it seems to be about an hour or two away from everything, coast, shopping, snow, ect.

I feel fortunate to have learned to ride in an area where traffic is actually rather light, and it's a short 5 or 10 minutes (depending on how many lights you have to stop at) to ALL the farming roads in the area.

I am also looking forward to hearing what happened with the traffic ticket that you got.

So if you see a screaming yellow helmet with tiger ears astride a Honda Rebel, Hi!

Balisada in the Willamette Valley

irondad said...

I'm pretty sure I saw you in the Albertson's plaza a couple of weeks or so ago. The tiger ears are something you sort of notice!


balisada said...

Yeah, that was me, waiting unhappily in Carl's Jr for my lunch.

People are always spotting my helmet in my office. They always stop in mid sentence - "I need to get a parking permit for my ve--Oh! Is that you? I saw you in town!"

I suppose I could do without the notoriety, but I am told that the yellow helmet gets me seen, which makes me very happy. And the tiger ears are cool. I suppose it helps me to portray the image that I am not an "outlaw" biker.

2006 Black Rebel